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King Henry | Goose Island Beer Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
320 Reviews
King HenryKing Henry
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewer's notes:
Aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 bourbon barrels, previously used to age Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. King Henry is a burgundy hued English-style barleywine with aromas of vanilla, oak, and dark fruit. Caramel and toffee flavors blend together with bold notes of bourbon delivered in a smooth body followed by a malty finish. No matter the occasion, King Henry promises a regal drinking experience.

Added by Kegatron on 08-16-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
320
Ratings:
1,458
Avg:
4.62
pDev:
9.09%
 
 
Wants:
1,751
Gots:
491
For Trade:
22
User Reviews
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Reviews: 320 | Ratings: 1,458
Reviews by shoky01:
Photo of shoky01
4.45/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into stemless red wine glasses.

Been waiting on this since I heard about it, so happy to score some.

A: Not what I was expecting. Very dark brown, almost black. Almost looks like a stout. Good carbonation and lacing but no head when poured.

S: fans of the BCBS would know what this was aged in just from the smell. Bourbon with some oak. This will either be really good or undrinkable.

T: Wow, exactly what I was thinking. The barrel flavoring is all over it. Caramel, some almost nut like. Very sweet like the BCBS.

MF: smooth but sticky, leaves a film.

OA: Glad I have more of this. Can't wait to age this a couple years.

 652 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Ron for opening this one with us... I don't know how he does it. Dark brown and mahogany on the pour, with a light-tan head that settles to a collar pretty quickly. Still, thick, somewhat viscous and slightly menacing as it sits in the glass quiety. Good clarity when held up to the light, with not much haze detectable at all.

The aroma is absolutely huge... whether it's good or not, that's one thing... but the size of it is captivating. Sticky caramel, toffee, brown sugar, sweet molasses, deep figs, heavy oak, prunes, a big, boozy underbody, handfuls of woodsy raisins and a polished dusting of cocoa and chocolate in the end. Huge. Robust. Sticky sweet and largely complex. The best nose on the planet? Probably not... but still, pretty damn fantastic.

I'm a little more blown away by the first sip, as the flavor is even more omnipotent and commanding than the aroma (and even a little better, if you ask me). Lots of oak up front, sticky, heavy toffee, molded vanilla and caramel drizzle, warm bourbon and booze, cavity-inducing brown sugar, more dark fruits like figs and prunes, with a mild touch of cola in the finish, quickly survived by a touch of chocolate and the faintest addition of roast.... Wow.

King Henry is a monster of a beer. I guess that's what happens when you take an already massive barleywine and age it in Pappy 23 barrels that previously held a badass stout for two years. The bourbon character itself is relatively tame, I'm guessing since this is the second usage of the barrels, but King Henry still retains that barleywine-ish boozy character throughout - not to a menacing degree, rather just enough to let you know exactly what you're dealing with here.

There's no doubt this beer is a slow sipper, and the mouth feel is more justification of that. Thick and viscous, such a large body that has a sticky and almost (I repeat, *almost*) syrup-like retention to all sides of your mouth, leaving you with the lasting impression of oak, dying dark fruits, and huge brown sugar and molasses sweetness. Something that must be savored, one sip at a time.

So - King Henry. What a damn fine barleywine. While I do believe the hype train took hold of this one long ago, and it still may be *slightly* over-hyped, it is still a fantastic beer... I just wouldn't give up the farm for a bottle. It still deserves recognition as an incredible beer, although it wanders pretty far from the realm of English barleywines. In any case, it was still a lovely treat and I can't thank Ron enough for letting me indulge.

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Photo of mlhyatt
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A- black but not quite jet black if that makes sense. Abiut half inch of head but it wasn't as frothy as I expected it to be. The head dissipates rather quickly as well.

S- tons of bourbon with some fruity undertones. Lots of sweet malt xoming forward as well.

T- delicious. The bourbon hits first strong even after 3 years. Then there is a smooth sweet malt that follows and really holds this beer together. The aftertaste is definitely fruity but not like backyard rye or actual fruit, if that makes sense. Hint of vanilla and oak in there as well.

M - a little bit thinner than I thought it would be but still has a medium body feel and little carbonation. The sweetness of the beer is a little strong but it just makes it a sipper.

O- extrenely well made beer. I can definitely see the hype behind it. Glad I got a few in the trade!

 879 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.74/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, thanks Curran for the big ol 11 oz pour of this. Big time want.

Pours an opaque, murky brown, small film-like head, under a quarter inch, and no lacing.

Smells like dark fruit, smooth seductive bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and toffee, in large amounts. Smells quite concentrated and sweet.

Even at 3 years out, the flavors here are so bright and vibrant. Very, very sweet, almost to the point of cloying, but it finishes slightly dry, keeping it from being too much. The bourbon flavor here is to die for, as expected given the PVW 23 3rd use barrels used. Even though it's 3 years later and 3rd use barrels, the bourbon is still present and forward. Huge notes of maple syrup, toffee, caramel, burnt brown sugar, dates, figs, raisins, port, chocolate covered cherries, with a slight boozy twinge that integrates well with everything else and warms you right up. Sipping this on a porch on this cool summer night was just about perfect.

Medium bodied, sticky sweet mouthfeel, there's a bit of tingly booze and woody bitterness on the lips throughout the session for me. A slow sipper for sure, due to ABV and strong flavors.

This is everything I hoped it would be. At times it was a tiny bit too sweet, but that's the only knock for me. Otherwise, perfection.

 1,271 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.82/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As rich, powerful, and succulent as any Barleywine that I have tasted. But with exquisit balance and surpring smoothness- is this the premiere Barleywine going forward?

The beer opens with a rusty garnet pour, very viscous, the beer carries an oily visual texture with cordial-like legging upon modest foam light tan and slight orange barley stains. Its overall appearanc is that of rich ale meets brandy.

Mouthwatering and succulent flavors and aromas of bourbon-soaked plubs, dates, cherries, figs, dates, nuts, apples, raisons, and prunes all layer upon the rich barley malt flavor of toffee, maple, brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. Barrel-rich caramels, vanilla, and vinous woods also offer all the flavor of bourbon but with little of the associated fusal heat. An absolutely delicious staple that sets the bar extremely high for any barleywine wishing to compete for top honors.

Lush textures depend on the sheer weight of the ale plus the creamy and rich medium carbonation that gives an English-like robust textrue that chases the flavors from start to finish. Growing heat rises to provide a long and tawny finish of Port and Sherry with a long and moderate dryness in finish.

I have never been saddened more to see an empty glass as I was after this one finished. I'm an absolute sucker for sweet barleywines and this one delivers with the perfect culmination of all the Barleywine flavors that I appreciate the most. Marvelous on all fronts!

 1,461 characters

Photo of WTKeene
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 bottle poured into a Prairie Teku glass.

Appearance: Sizable, eggshell head for a barleywine, and it sticks around a while as a large crown around the edge of the glass. The beer itself is veering on pitch black, just a hint of brown and amber as it’s held up to the light.

Smell: Lots of dark fruits. Dried figs, toffee, caramel. Bourbon is quite prominent as well, with a lot of vanilla oak barrel too. Alcohol is prominent too.

Taste: Dark fruits again, particularly raisins and figs. Loads of brown sugar and molasses, and some burnt sugar, caramel too. The finish is pretty barrel-forward, with a lot of the vanilla oak coming through. As it warms, the bourbon flavors become stronger. A little alcohol too. This is delicious.

Mouthfeel: Very very thick, and very, very sticky. Low carb, but sufficient for the style. Lips stick together while drinking the beer, it’s that oily and sticky and thick.

Overall: So damn happy I got to drink this, courtesy of cestlavie, and enjoyed with abbbp. This is easily one of the best barleywines I’ve ever had. It was just that good. I’d be surprised if this could possibly have been better fresh.

 1,162 characters

Photo of emyers
4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle at Ball & Biscuit in Indianapolis, IN. Review from notes 5/13.

Appearance: Pours dark brown color, near black, with a thin light brown lacing. Not much head retention.

Smell: Wow. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, rich caramel malt, a healthy dose of fig, some dark chocolate, and hints of toast. There are layers upon layers of aroma here. Incredibly complex. I wish I could be smelling this all of the time, forever. OK, that might be a very slight exaggeration, but really, this smells impossibly good.

Taste: Unreal. Rich, top shelf bourbon, fig, date, caramel, some dark chocolate, vanilla, and toasted oak. Slight bit of alcohol heat on the finish (which only adds to the deliciousness). In order to imagine this flavor profile, take a world class barleywine and add some imperial stout characteristics and a healthy dose of bourbon. Then make it exponentially better. There may come a day when I taste a beer better than this, but I honestly doubt it.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and extremely smooth. Rich and velvety going down with an appropriately low carbonation level. Once again, wouldn't change a thing.

Overall: Based on some of the comments I read about this beer on the forums, I didn't think it could possibly live up to the hype. Then I tasted it, and it blew the hype out of the water. Words cannot describe how good this beer is.

 1,354 characters

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of cjn40277
4.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SkiBum22
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark mahoganey color with a thin ring of cream colored head. Nice lacing.

S - Very nice barrel aged barleywine smell. Some lightly toasted malts, burnt brown sugars, caramel, slight hops and wonderful pappy barrel smell. The barrels bring out some mild vanilla, wood, and a touch of coconut.

T - Similar to the smell, very sweet. I can feel the carbonation and taste it. The spices are very prevalent in the taste along with some subtle bourbon notes. I am getting some oak here as well.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. astringency from the hops. big boozy feel all over my mouth and throat.

O - Wow, this is easily the surprise of the year for me. I had no idea about this beer until last week and can now say with ease that this is in my top 5 of all-time. I just got into barley wines this year and didn't think anything could beat abacus and this blows it away.

 892 characters

Photo of joemetric
4.69/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.59/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz brown bomber with a bottled on date, also states that it will develop in the bottle over five years. Bottle #1028. 13.4% ABV ... this should be interesting.

LOOK: Opaque brown, head is virtually non-exsistant.

SMELL: Booze soaked fruit, barrel char, bourbon, vanilla, maple, wood, melon rind, peppery.

TASTE: Viscous, creamy, sherry, toasted wood, heavy char, ink, gritty, dark chocolate, bready, ripe cherries, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, lost leafy hop bitterness, boozy, spicy peppercorn, barrel dryness in finish.

Does it live up to the hype? Hell yeah! Massively complex. English Barleywine meets American bourbon barrel-aging with a nod to Old Ales as a byproduct. Goose Island once again proves their mastery of maturing beer in wood. Even King Henry would be impressed.

 785 characters

Photo of Ben7773
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of newk340
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of supa0525
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of joel66
4.25/5  rDev -8%

Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Jared14
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of 77apm
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jisom123
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Dbrulet
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of megamass
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

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King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.
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